The law allows a person to use force to defend yourself against attack (or the threat of attack) from another. This is known as self-defence. If you are charged with crimes of violence then you should immediately contact us.
Self-defence is a special and complete defence to charges of assault and murder. This means that if it is found that the accused was acting in self-defence, they will be acquitted. This defence needs to be specially prepared and submitted in writing in advance. Our team of specialist assault and murder lawyers have a wealth of experience in preparing cases for the Courts.
There are three strict conditions for a defence of self-defence to succeed.
- “There must be an imminent danger to the life or limb of the accused.”
- “The retaliation that he uses in the face of this danger must be necessary for his own safety.”
- “If the person assaulted has means of escape or retreat, he is bound to use them.”
In other words, threat + no escape + proportionate response = self-defence
Imminent danger means just that – if someone threatens to harm you in the future, then you don’t have the right to strike them in the present.
If the threat is imminent, you do not actually have to wait to be assaulted. For example, somebody is coming toward you and you feel that they are going to harm you, then you can act in self-defence.
If there is a means of escaping being assaulted, for example, running away or avoiding the situation by exiting a property, then that means of escape must be taken.
This duty to retreat does not, however, require you to place yourself in danger by doing so. For example, if your only means of retreat involved running across a busy road, it may well be reasonable to stand your ground in those circumstances.
Your response to attack should be proportionate to the danger that you are in. For example, if somebody were punching you, it would be disproportionate to stab them with a knife or shoot them.
What constitutes proportionality will depend on the circumstances, but the courts take into account peoples decision-making processes taken in the heat of the moment.
Potential factors to take into account could be:
- the nature and seriousness of the initial attack
- whether the attacker persisted with the attack after an attempt to repel them had no effect
- whether a means of escape became available during the attack
- whether the attacker had already been disabled by the accused
If the attacker has been knocked down, it is unlikely to be proportionate to kick them repeatedly.
If you have been charged with assault, serious assault, assault to danger of life, culpable homicide or murder and you have a defence of self-defence, then you must contact our specialist team of self-defence lawyers without delay.
We have a wealth of experience in defending clients who are charged with crimes of violence who have a special defence of self-defence.
Self-defence legal aid
You may be entitled to legal aid throughout the process. Free legal aid is available for Police Station interviews, court appearances and trials, call us today and we will talk you through your options.
I would HIGHLY recommend Mr Berlow to anybody who finds themselves in need. Thank you to everybody at Berlow Rahman for jumping to deal with my rather serious issue swiftly and efficiently and putting my mind to rest.